Monday 21st May 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Federal Court… Orders Iowa Christian Group Back On Campus

February 5, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

The University of Iowa lost its bid to strip a student group, Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC), of its status as a registered student organization when a federal judge granted the group’s request and ordered the university to restore the group’s status.
Like many victories conservative Christians win, it was not a complete victory and it continues to demonstrate how those opposing Christian values very often confuse belief with discrimination in order to further their ends, as well as how many university administrators apply dual standards to curtail Christian groups.
The controversy began in April of 2016 when a former member of BLinC complained to university officials that he was discriminated against and not allowed to run for vice president of the group because he was gay. The university then began an investigation that lead to revocation of BLinC’s status as a registered student group. The registered group status had allowed BLinC to receive school funding, inclusion in university publications, use of the school’s trademark, and use of campus facilities, among other things.
BLinC is a religious student group organized within the university’s Tippie College of Business. Its members meet weekly for Bible study and spiritual support, organize service projects each semester, and invite speakers who mentor students on how to merge faith and career.
Membership was open to all; however, its constitution did require that officers follow biblical values and that they must be competent for spiritual counseling and to lead student prayer services. They were required to adhere to its Doctrine of Personal Integrity which states:
“All Christians are under obligation to seek to follow the example of Christ in their own lives and in human society. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including pornography. We believe God’s intention for a sexual relationship is to be between a husband and a wife in the lifelong covenant of marriage. Every other sexual relationship beyond this is outside of God’s design and not in keeping with God’s original plan for humanity.”
Students who sought leadership positions met with a board that evaluated their competence to fulfill a group leader’s mission, and, if approved, their names would be submitted to the membership as an electoral candidate for the position sought.
The complainant had met with the board where he told the group’s president that he was gay and did not think he could uphold the Integrity Doctrine since he was contemplating entering into a homosexual relationship. On the basis of his statement, it was determined that he was in “fundamental disagreement” with the group’s faith and he was not permitted to run for vice president; but he was not expelled from the group. He then complained to the university that he was denied his opportunity to run for office only because he was homosexual.
Notice, and this is a point we need to make over and over: He claimed that he was being discriminated against due to his status as a homosexual man. BLinC did not make a determination on his status — it was made on his own statement that he was going to enter into what the Christian group considered to be an illicit sexual relationship which disqualified him from becoming a group leader.
This point, I think, is key to a lot of what religious organizations often face: the fact that they hold certain values on sexual ethics does not ipso facto mean they discriminate against those who hold different views. Here, in this case, the judge missed it, too; it was not the student’s status that caused his rejection — it was his planned action to violate the group’s norms.
The student asked that the university force BLinC to allow openly LGBT students to become group leaders, or to revoke its status as a registered student group. Ultimately, after a series of negotiations with university administrators, the group’s registered status was withdrawn. And, surprise, surprise, the complaining student then founded his own LGBT friendly group, Love Works, which advocates for LGBT justice. Naturally, it was subsequently recognized as an official student group.
In December, BLinC filed a 41-page, 20-count federal lawsuit claiming that the university discriminated against the group by violating its First Amendment rights of free speech and religion, and in doing so it also violated provisions of the Iowa constitution. BLinC then asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction ordering the university to recognize the group in time for it to take part in spring semester activities.
In support of its application for injunctive relief, BLinC filed a 39-page memorandum arguing that the school’s action violated the group’s freedom of speech and religion and that the decertification was an arbitrary enforcement of the university’s Human Rights policy. That policy was described by the judge as, “[E]ssentially boilerplate language [which] repeated in similar terms in civil and human rights codes nationwide, including the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Iowa City Human Rights Code.”
Regarding membership in student organizations, the policy stated, “[T]hat all registered student organizations be able to exercise free choice of members on the basis of their merits as individuals without restriction in accordance with the University Policy on Human Rights.”
BLinC then listed several examples of registered organizations that had approved limitations on membership or leadership in their constitutions, including: The University of Iowa Feminists Union which limits its members to students who shared its purposes, including support for abortion and access for contraception; and the Islamic organization of Imam Mahdi, which the court found most problematic for the university to defend, that limits leadership roles to Shia Muslims who “refrain from major sins.”
The university argued back in a 17-page resistance that the group’s rights were not infringed upon simply because the university chose not to fund it, that no irreparable harm is being done to the group, which is a requirement for a preliminary injunction, that the balance of the equities favored the university, and that Iowa had a “compelling interest” in prohibiting “discrimination on factors such as sexual orientation or other immutable traits.”
On January 23 U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose issued the injunction BLinC requested; however, there were some precautionary problems with her opinion.
First, she found that it was based “solely upon the university’s selective enforcement of an otherwise reasonable and viewpoint neutral nondiscrimination policy.” Here, of course, the judge missed what I pointed out above, that is, the confusion with a person’s status in relation to the actions he takes. Somehow the ruling implies that it was the complainant’s status as “gay” — not his stated intention to enter into an illicit sexual relationship — that was the crux of the matter.
In fact, the sexual relationship was the heart of the matter and it did not matter if it was a homosexual relationship or not since BLinC objected to all sexual relations outside of traditional marriage.
What caught the judge’s eye was the fact that the university policies were not applied uniformly and she cited the Imam Mahdi group, where members must be Shia Muslims, to make her point. “The university does not appear to have taken any action with respect to Imam Mahdi despite its clear violation of the University’s Human Rights policy.”
The university had argued that other organizations with defective human rights guidelines may have been allowed since its enforcement was only “complaint driven.” Since the university had to approve group constitutions in the first place, that argument did not hold much water for the judge.
In the end the injunction was granted for 90 days at which time either party may seek further actions and the university may respond by detailing any changes to the enforcement of its policies.
So who won this round? Well, it may be hard to say. The problem of status vs. action or belief was left on the table and, since the university’s policy was so arbitrarily and unequally enforced, the judge might have felt she had no other option. We hope that the university will decide that it’s in everybody’s best interest to just let this die. This, however, is unlikely to protect other Christian organizations on other campuses from the same treatment given to BLinC.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal Burke: Catholics must let Christ reign as King in face of ‘apostasy’ within Church

ROME, May 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics must consciously place themselves under the “Kingship of Christ” in the face of enemies of the Church today attempting to “infiltrate the life of the Church herself and to corrupt the Bride of…Continue Reading

President Trump to cut Planned Parenthood funding

The Trump administration is announcing its intentions to cut a significant amount of taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses. The proposed regulation will also better protect victims of sexual assault, incest and rape because it will require that…Continue Reading

Bishop Tobin is right: the Catholic Church must stay true to itself

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, who is the Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, in the United States, has tweeted, and it is a mighty tweet, a gem amidst the dross and banality of Twitter. The Bishop has written:

Alfie Evans laid to rest today with no coroner’s investigation, no toxicology report

LONDON, May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The question of what caused the death of UK toddler Alfie Evans may never be known. The UK High Court refused today to order a post-mortem examination of the toddler’s remains at the request…Continue Reading

Google and Facebook Censor Pro-Life Free Speech Ahead of Ireland Vote to Legalize Abortion

This has been coming on in Ireland for months, really since the outlines of the wording for the May 25 referendum to gut protections for unborn children were released. Simon Harris, the Minister of Health, and others, committed to overturning…Continue Reading

Bill Nye the Science Guy Headlines Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” a man who became famous for teaching children about science, has anything but children’s best interests at heart. Nye is an abortion activist who spoke Tuesday at fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in Texas. San Antonio…Continue Reading

Pope Francis one week after Alfie Evans’ death: ‘all possible assistance’ must be given to dying

May 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis spoke out on Sunday in favor of providing complete health care to dying patients, in an apparent reference to the case of Alfie Evans, a child who died in a British public hospital…Continue Reading

Abortionist to be jailed after killing woman in botched late-term abortion

QUEENS, New York, May 4, 2018 (Operation Rescue) – In a move that shocked the court, abortionist Robert Rho accepted a previously offered plea bargain and admitted his guilt to Felony Negligent Homicide immediately after the judge announced that the jury had…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell, Vatican treasurer, to become most senior member of Catholic church to stand trial on sex charges

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s treasurer, has become the most senior Catholic figure to face sexual assault charges after a court in Melbourne committed him to stand trial on historical offences involving multiple victims. After being asked for a plea, 76-year-old…Continue Reading

Michigan Catholic School Revokes ‘Modesty Poncho’ Prom Plan for Female Students

A Catholic high school in Michigan has ended a plan to make female students wear “modesty ponchos” at prom if they are dressed inappropriately. After some parents and students at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Mich. said the “modesty…Continue Reading

Archdiocese of Baltimore plans to build first new Catholic school in city in more than 50 years

After years of shuttering schools amid declining enrollment and budget constraints, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is planning to build its first new Catholic school in the city in more than 50 years. So far, the archdiocese has raised about $13…Continue Reading

As much as $100,000 taken from collection plate at Holy Name Cathedral, police say

Chicago police are investigating whether former security guards at Holy Name Cathedral may have played a role in the theft of up to $100,000 from the historic church’s collection plate, according to preliminary information from police sources and the security company.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Pope Francis names 14 new cardinals from five continents

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday he would elevate 14 churchmen from five continents to the rank of cardinal, picking candidates that work with the poor or where Catholics are in a minority and putting his stamp on the group that will elect his successor.

Cardinal Burke warns upcoming youth synod may release ‘new storm in the Church’

ROME, May 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – There is a risk that the upcoming synod on youth will bring “more difficulties” for the Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke said at the Rome Life Forum today, noting there have already been allegations of manipulation. “What can we expect about and after the new synod in October?” he was asked. “A new storm in the Church? A new ambiguous exhortation? More dubia?” “I think simply from a point of human…Continue Reading

Chile’s bishops resign en masse over sex abuse cover-up

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In the biggest shake-up yet in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse scandal, every active Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over what Pope Francis said was their “grave negligence” in investigating abuse and protecting children. The bishops announced at the end of an emergency Vatican summit that all 31 active bishops in Rome had signed a document offering to resign. Francis can accept the resignations, rej

Iowa attorney general refuses to defend heartbeat abortion ban

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Democratic attorney general of Iowa is refusing to defend the state’s new ban on aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, citing his personal opposition to the duly-enacted law. “Attorney General Tom Miller has disqualified himself from representing the state” in the inevitable court battle over the law, Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson announced in a letter Tuesday. “The

This Governor Just Gave One of the Most Passionate Pro-Life Speeches

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds promised to passionately defend the rights of unborn babies Saturday after signing the earliest abortion ban into law. “We are No. 1 in the country when it comes to protecting life,” Reynolds told the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition during its annual event, Newsmax reports. “I believe all innocent life is precious and sacred, and as governor I pledge to you to do everything in my power to protect life.” Earlier this…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

The Vote On The Eighth Amendment . . . The Pro-Abortion Elites Are Active In Ireland

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue commented May 14 on Ireland’s upcoming referendum on abortion.) + + + In 1983, Ireland passed the Eighth Amendment outlawing abortion in most cases. Its future will be decided in a May 25 referendum. Activists from both sides have drawn support from inside and outside…Continue Reading

What Greatness Requires

By DONALD DeMARCO In a world such as ours, where mediocrity and confusion reign, where leaders mislead us and governments deceive us, the need for greatness is particularly critical. What is greatness, we may well ask? If we are not clear about the nature of this esteemed quality, how easy it is to settle for…Continue Reading

Minnesota Gov. Dayton Vetoes Ultrasound Bill

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton on May 16 vetoed the mainstream pro-life measure that would ensure pregnant women access to their ultrasounds prior to an abortion. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), the state’s oldest and largest pro-life organization, is deeply disappointed with the governor’s action. “Once again Gov. Dayton has yielded to the…Continue Reading

At Commencement… Christendom College Honors Justice Clarence Thomas

By ZACHARY SMITH FRONT ROYAL, Va. — Christendom College celebrated commencement weekend on May 11-13, awarding 110 bachelor of arts degrees and honoring Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Clarence Thomas and Episcopal Vicar for Clergy of the Diocese of Arlington Fr. Paul Scalia. Justice Thomas was awarded the college’s Pro…Continue Reading

Who Misinformed Francis About Bishop Barros?

By J.D. FLYNN VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Three Chilean survivors of clerical sexual abuse on May 2 held a press conference to discuss recent conversations with Pope Francis about the circumstances of their abuse. Juan Carlos Cruz, along with James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo, were sexually abused by Fr. Fernando Karadima, who in 2011…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Replies To Objections To The Mass

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 29 In this article, we respond to objections against the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which non-Catholics are wont to raise in order to attempt to justify their many different doctrines about the Eucharist. They do not agree among themselves on a great many points of doctrine — see how many thousands of sects,…Continue Reading

Blessed Are The Merciful

By DON FIER In last week’s consideration of the fourth Beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [justice], for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6), we saw that those being referred to are souls who intensely desire that their wills are in accord with God’s will. They want what God wants, and their desires are always satisfied.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. While preparing for her Confirmation, my niece had to memorize the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but not all of them were the ones I learned at my Confirmation. I recognized three of them — Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge — but the other four were different. Can you explain this? — M.C., via e-mail. A. For the last…Continue Reading

Holy Mass In Limerick, Ireland, October 1, 1979… Pope John Paul II: Defend “The Absolute Inviolability Of Unborn Life”

(Editor’s Note: The text of this address by John Paul II comes from the Vatican’s website, w2.vatican.va. All rights reserved.) + + + A phobail dhilis na Mumhan, go mbeannai Dia dhaoibh. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, On this last day of my visit to Ireland, I come to you to celebrate with you the Holy Eucharist. I wish…Continue Reading

Testify To And Glorify The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Pentecost (YR B) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells His apostles that at that time they were unable to hear the full truth, so He tells them the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all truth. Beyond leading them into…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Ivan Merz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord paid the laborers the same wage whether they worked from early morning or began in the afternoon. The rewards were the same (Matthew, chapter 20). So too are the rewards for serving the Lord with zeal and perseverance. St. Augustine, converting at the age of 33, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi — all…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bede The Venerable

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern England — what is now known as the county of Tyne and Wear — on the Wear River sits St. Peter’s at Monkwearmouth. About seven miles away are the ruins of St. Paul’s Parish, which contain the oldest stained-glass window in the world. Both churches played an important role in the development of Christianity in…Continue Reading